How might immigrants face inequality on the job?

Many immigrants to America are mistreated on the job. They may be given un unfair wage, denied safety equipment and be threatened with deportation.

Each year, thousands of immigrants come to Tennessee and elsewhere in the country to seek a better life. Unfortunately, life is not always easy for newcomers to America. They often face discrimination, prejudice and language and social barriers. It may be particularly difficult for foreigners to find good jobs in America or to be treated fairly by their employers.

According to the American Immigration Council, about 4.7 percent of the population in Tennessee is comprised of immigrants. Those who come to the country from elsewhere contribute a great deal toward America's economy and job force. They pay taxes and perform needed jobs, and some may start businesses and open up jobs for others. However, many immigrants, particularly undocumented workers, face discrimination and abuse from their employers.

Employer abuse against undocumented immigrants is inhumane

According to The Guardian, many employers take advantage of the vulnerability of undocumented workers. Often, they pay their workers under the table and do not offer a fair wage. They may force them to work a longer-than-usual work day for little pay. In some cases, foreign workers are not compensated for their jobs at all. Those who work in dangerous industries that are common for immigrants, such as agriculture or construction, may not be properly trained in safety measures and standards, and may not be given protective equipment to prevent them from getting hurt. They could also be forced to put up with racial discrimination and sexual harassment on the job. If they complain about safety, ask for better wages or the right to join a union, their employers might terminate their jobs, withhold pay or threaten to call immigration officials. Therefore, countless immigrants could be put in danger and mistreated because of the fear of deportation or a lack of knowledge about their rights.

Workers denied safety equipment

One example that highlights these common abuses occurred during cleanup efforts after Hurricane Gustav. The Los Angeles Times reported that undocumented workers labored side-by-side with American workers to clean up contaminated water and dead animals, repair homes and tear down damaged buildings. However, some claimed they were not given protective equipment to prevent infection and injuries, while the American workers received gear. When they asked for protective gear, their pay was reportedly reduced by half, and some were taken to immigration jail after they went on strike to demand better treatment.

Those who work in America should have basic rights to be given a fair wage and treated with dignity, including undocumented workers. It may be necessary to speak with an experienced immigration attorney in Nashville after being mistreated by an employer.

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